By David Rasmussen, 10th Sep 06
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As far as video game to manga translations go weve been down this road before (and not).
With me weve gone down the whole Kingdom Hearts route, and while this is nice and all there are yet a ton more mangas out there based on video games of varying degrees of popularity. Some are based on well known franchises (like Kingdom Hearts), some are based on kind of well known franchises that either havent taken off well in America or is only now getting a foothold, and some are Disgaea, the manga.

Admittedly Disgaea, a self professed SRPG whatever an SRPG is (think the S means Strategy) is not exactly a well known franchise, at least to me. If you are a fan of Disgaea you know the score, if not then help me, I never played it before. But were not here to review the game anyway (which youll probably need a store like Gamestop (Hilo or Kona) to find since its not something even Blockbuster seems to have in their used game section), were here to talk about the manga (inspired by the video game).

Welcome to the underworld no, not the vampire vs. werewolf thing from the movie Underworld, but the actual demon infested underworld. A kinder, gentler well, in comparison to other dark underbellies of demonkind this is the nice neighborhood of evil. Well here, where a rather fanciful overlord once ruled with an iron hand and a frequent pass to the local strip club, we start our story.
The overlord of this underworld is dead, and it seems there is no line of sucession to suceed him until that said line wakes up. Asleep for two years (something that is totally understandable since somebody tried to poison him) Prince Laharl wakes up to find that daddy dearest is dead, and his chance to become overlord is at hand if he can overcome the many who want to kick down the fortress walls (litterly) and climb on daddy dearest chair to take over and maybe find his lifetime pass to SCORES Underworld.

But seeing how Prince Laharl kicks it back DBZ style (very powerful), and has a lovely sidekick in the character of Etna (his vassal who has her own vassals in the demon/penguin like creatures called Prinnies) itll take more than just a fancy dressed demon with an attitude problem to take over. Itll take something more like this fancy pants dressed weirdo with the unlikely name of Vyers (Dark Adonis Vyers), with whom everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING) is beautiful and gorgeous mostly him, mind you, but and he oh, damn, lets just call him Mid Boss and be done with it.

After fancy pants arrives (almost immediately thereafter) a ditsy blonde angel named Flonne comes on down to the underworld on a mission to kill the already dead overlord of the underworld, only to find thqat her target is dead and shes travelling with someone (Mid Boss) to meet Laharl who she thinks is stalking Laharl (immediately accuses Mid Boss of being a pedophile and a weirdo yet at no time does Stone Phillips or the Dateline NBC staff make an appearance maybe in the Anime coming in December), which leads to her wanting to become his surrogate father and well the weirdness doesnt end there.

Though I should stop talking since this is only a one shot. However be assured that the strangeness of the title runs throughout, packs a nice humor with a devilish twist of being rather mature minded for 13+ Teen title since accusations of pedophilia and other things fly as well as a few cultural references and other weirdness comes up in this little gem of a manga.

Its good, but it might not be a 5 out of 5. Why?
1-The title is based on a rather well Disgaea is no Final Fantasy in terms of familiarity as far as I know of it. Sure, sure, it might actually be a runaway hit title that everyone knows (which means Im a loser again if I failed to know this series) but as far as I know its abit of an obscure game, thus making this abit of an obscure manga based on an obscure game.
Not that this makes the manga bad, its just that this might fly under the radar of quite a few who dont know that its worth picking up hand this to someone and recommend it.

2-Its a one shot. Thats great since you got the entire series in one shot and all but it also means theres no follow through. Yes, there will be another manga based around sequel game Disgaea 2 coming soon well if you consider the Winter of 2008 (and by Winter I hope that means First Quarter and NOT Christmas) soon then by all means this is Coming Soon yawn. Harry Potter Year 7 (and,come to think of it, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix theatrical version) is coming sooner. Spider-Man 3 is coming sooner heck, the only thing that may not come sooner than this is Chronicles of Narnia : Prince Caspian (Holiday 2008) uh must I wait so darn long for a second Disgaea manga?!?

3-bleah. Im going to score now. Breakdown time.

Disgaea Breakdown
Whats Hot?

According to the back of the manga this is the first manga work by Arashi Shindo, the one who scribed this one shot. In that case congratulations. Im sure by now Arashi Shindo has clipped down a few more titles in the history books, but for this self proclaimed first hit at greatness I have to applaud it being a solid first go. Nicely done, fine humor, liked the cultural references, and overall a nice solid little fun read. Going into my bag of tricks as one of the mangas I read through regularly just because.

Whats Not?
The long long long insufferably long wait for what another Disgaea manga? Do I WANT to wait what 16-18 months minimum?!?Do I? I hate waiting long periods of time! Ill have a hard enough time waiting for Disgaea DVD V. 1 to come out in December, heaven forbid wait for this! Sigh why?!?

Moments to Remember?
Its a moment to remember just by having that bit of spunk of a fresh talent doing something interesting with their first go at it. I for one appreciated Arashi Shindos efforts, and they should be rewarded (now I guess I should do my homework and pick up whatever came next for Shindo).

What to Ignore?
I think I said already what I didnt like about Disgaeas manga future as a point of contention, so lets stick to that as my only downer I wish I could ignore.

For a first time at the manga bat Arashi Shindo hits a nice homer out of the park, for me in anycase. Dispute it if you like, but Im going to ignore (for a change) the lack of a follow through or the long long wait for another book and reward Shindos efforts in the here and now. It may be three years too late but Im going to give Shindo full due for this delightful little read that even surprised me by popping up for Disgaea five beautiful Mid Boss appearances out of 5.
Now would somebody tell me if Disgaea 2 is out on the PS2 yet?!? Please!!

By David Rasmussen, 10th Sep 06


Disgaea manga review

Broccoli Books

Country of origin

1 volume

Year of production

Arashi Shindo

Arashi Shindo

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